Hearing loss is often a difficult experience. It can leave you feeling frustrated, isolated and depressed. It can also trigger feelings of anxiety.
What Does Anxiety Look Like?
These feelings can manifest in different ways. Maybe you experience racing thoughts or a general sense of doom. Or you feel overwhelmed in crowded environments like a busy grocery store or Desert Sky Mall.
You might have constant worries like:
- What if my hearing loss gets worse?
- What if I don’t hear something important?
- What if I mishear something and embarrass myself?
- What if my hearing aid stops working or my batteries die when I wasn’t expecting it?
You might also notice an increase in anxious thoughts that are not related to hearing loss, like wondering if you left the stove on or locked the front door before leaving the house.
Anxiety can also trigger a myriad of physical symptoms including:
- Heart palpitations
- Muscle aches
Hearing Loss and Anxiety Connection
A study published in 2018 observed 3,928 adults aged 65 and older over a 12-year period. The study examined how hearing loss and vision loss affected anxiety symptoms. Increased anxiety symptoms were found in older adults with hearing loss, but not those with vision loss.
The more severe the hearing loss the stronger the correlation to anxiety. Another study of adults aged 76 to 85, found participants with mild hearing loss had a 32% higher risk of anxiety. For those with moderate to high hearing loss, the number jumped to 59%.
Hearing loss can also occur with other symptoms like tinnitus and dizziness. Both of which can be distressing and cause or increase anxiety.
What to Do
While anxiety can feel overwhelming, the good news is that it is treatable. If you are experiencing symptoms, reach out to a medical professional right away to help find solutions that work for you. Your doctor might prescribe medication or suggest counseling with a mental health professional. They can work with you to develop coping mechanisms to deal with negative thoughts and fears.
If your anxiety is related to hearing loss, finding the right pair of hearing aids can offer significant relief. They can help you feel more confident in your hearing and communication abilities and allow you to engage in activities you enjoy.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, call Arizona Desert ENT Specialists today.